The Carcasses in the Desert
By Olatunbosun Adetula (Nigeria)
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THE CARCASSES IN THE DESERT
By Olatunbosun Adetula (Nigeria)
Goi lived in Doctor George’s house once he arrived in Hull. After his baptism at the Anglican Church, Doctor George enrolled him in Atwood high school. Goi quickly became the quintessence of best behaviour in the college. He was very brilliant in school, and he passed his O’ level and A’ level at a sitting. Later when he got admission to Hull University, George was proud of him.
Goi was six feet tall in his stocking feet; at twenty one he got admission to study Archaeology.
“I am very proud of you Goi,” Doctor George said. He had a pleased look on his face and he smiled.
“I am so happy,” Goi said with unalloyed happiness. What pained him most was the absence of his grandparents in Hull, so they could not to share in his joy.
As he spoke with Doctor George inside the living room, the phone rang. Doctor George stood up and picked it - it was Janet, the doctor’s new girlfriend.
“Who is calling sir?”
“It‘s Janet; she was asking whether I am at home.”
“I see, I thought it was my friend.”
Doctor George shook his head and went to sit down; he worked in a private hospital in Hull.
“What did you have in the kitchen, Goi?” Doctor George asked and fell on the chair.
“I cooked noodles, sir,” Goi said.
“I want it hot my dear,” Doctor George said
“You will definitely get them hot,” Goi said and went into the kitchen.
One hour later, after they finished their food, they sat down in the living room and talked.
“Goi, when last did you write to your grannies?”
“Two weeks ago.” Goi said, sipping the juice succulently.
“Have they replied to you?”
“No, I am still expecting their reply.”
Rain fell as they talked together, so Goi went to lock the window. Later he stayed inside his room. It had been three weeks since he had arrived in Hull. Still Goi found it difficult to adjust himself to the weather condition in Britain. He especially hated the winter season and, as he slept on the bed, and thought of his grandpa and grandma. He fell into a deep sleep.
Later Goi strolled around the University with his girlfriend, Abigail, a young beautiful girl, fair, tall and beautiful, a daughter of a Jamaican immigrant and a British mother. Abigail loved Goi and the two of them were birds of a feather that flocked together. As they both strolled together under the cool morning sky, Goi suddenly looked at his wrist watch.
“Look Abigail, I have a class at eleven and it’s almost time.” Goi looked into her face.
“Okay, when shall I see you again?” Abigail asked.
“After the class. Let’s say around one.”
“Then meet me at the library.”
“I will be there hopefully,” Goi said and they kissed.
As he was about to depart, Abigail drew him back.
“I forgot to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“Remember, we are going to Justin’s birthday party tonight.”
“I remember,” Goi said, kissing her and running toward the lecture hall.
X X X X
Janet breathed deeply when Doctor George kissed her on the lips as they slept together on the bed. Janet was a student nurse at the Roller-skate hospital. She looked at George on the bed with pleasure. She hadn’t anticipated this and had no illusions that Doctor George could talk to her and profess his love. George had eyed her the first day he saw her at the hospital, and her beauty captured him. Then one day when he smiled at her and she smiled back, he knew in his heart that she belonged to him.
Janet, unlike the other student nurses who were boisterous, was cool, calm and gentle. At twenty one, she was a beautiful girl, the only child of her parents. Her appearance in the life of Doctor George was a breath of fresh air in his gloomy life, Janet was a real brick. She looked after George during his travail, when he suffered the pang of cancer. Janet held to him on the bed and they kissed many times.
“Janet, look, I have to go, the patients are waiting for me at the hospital,” George said and made an attempt to leave the bed.
“You can’t leave me, dear,” Janet said and knelt on him, her eyes holding a look of silent appeal.
They kissed again and she freed him. Then George left the bed and ran to the bathroom. Janet stood up from the bed and went to join him there.
“When are you leaving, Janet?” George asked as they got out the bathroom.
“I don’t know. I think in one hour’s time if I am lucky.”
“Look, Goi is coming home tonight.”
“Oh Goi. It has been a long time since I last saw him. How is he?”
“He is fine, doing very great, and I have no regret for bringing him to Hull,” Doctor George said and arranged his tie on the mirror inside the room.
Janet went behind him, turned around and faced him, and helped him to arrange the tie. Later she embraced him and they kissed.
George left the room and went outside. Later, as he drove away, Janet stared at the tail of the car as it disappeared around the bend like a streak of lightning.
When he got to his desk at the hospital, his phone rang and Doctor Cameron came on line. He spoke from his office on the top floor of the five story building.
“George, can you come over to my office quickly?” doctor Cameroon asked.
“I will be there in a jiffy, sir.”
George left his office and went into the lift, and as the lift went up, many thoughts jostled for space in his mind. He shook nervously as he turned the knob of the office door. When he got inside, he went to the doctor’s desk, where they exchanged pleasantries and Doctor Cameron told him to sit down.
“Have your seat, Doctor George.,” said doctor Cameroon. He was the chief medical director of the Roller-skate hospital, and a very a humble man. He had put in thirty years of service.
“Thank you very much sir,’ George said. He couldn’t look at the Director‘s face.
“I have great news for you,” Doctor Cameron said. George’s heart beat at uneven rate.
“Great news for me, I don’t understand.”
“Yeah George, it has to do with your health.”
“I am very afraid sir.”
“You don’t need to fear George.”
Doctor Cameron stood up and went to the window. Then he walked to the small wardrobe inside his large office and brought out a file.
“Look, from the advanced examination we conducted on you, we found no trace of cancer in your system,” Doctor Cameron said and George was shocked.
“You must be kidding. I don’t believe it sir. Tell me you are fooling, sir.” George said as the doctor handed the file to him.
He read the information inside the file aloud and cried. Doctor Cameron smiled and took a tissue from his desk. He went to Doctor George and gave him the tissue paper. Later George stood up and brightened up. This news was the light that hit the dark side of him. He thanked the doctor for all his efforts in his behalf.
When he left Doctor Cameron office, he was so excited that when he got into his office he brought out his phone and dialed Janet’s phone.
“I have got terrible news for you.” George said into the phone. Janet knew he had cancer.
“How terrible is the news?”
“I have just received the report of my last medical examination.”
“Drop it on the table,”
“The result is negative. Janet, I have no cancer!” George shouted. He heard Janet dance all over the house.
“I am so happy,” she shouted and sang.
Many of the doctors and the nurses that worked in the hospital came to congratulate him. When he heard the news, Goi was happy too. He called the doctor and congratulated him.
Doctor George, Janet and Goi sat down at a cozy restaurant. They were celebrating for Doctor George had fought the battle and won. They laughed and joked over the meal. Later Doctor George proposed to Janet. She was so happy. She stood and went to sit on Doctor George’s lap. In fact, she was so happy that the chair they both sat on fell apart. They both laughed and laughed till they left the restaurant.
X X X X
Goi was not happy. As he rested on the bed he touched his manhood but it was weak like dodo. In fact, he had discovered the placidity of his manhood when he got to Hull. He didn’t tell anyone except even his closest pal, Justin. He hid his medical condition fathom deep. His lack of erection affected his relationship with Abigail.
Goi thought about Moi on the bed and, whenever he slept in the night, she appeared to him. Goi remembered the oath they had in the village; it was heavy upon his heart. He dreamt about Moi. He was still on the bed when the clock beside his bed rang. It was seven in the morning. He quickly left the bed and cleaned his room. Later when he went to the window and looked across the street and was shocked to see Abigail. She was visiting him for the first time. Immediately his face lit up with joy and his mood lightened. He cleaned his room of all any evidence that he had written to Moi. As he cleaned his room, there came a knock on the door. It was Abigail.
“Abigail, my love, I have missed you,” Goi shouted and carried her into the living room. Doctor George was not in the house; he had gone to work.
“Goi, I missed you too.” Abigail said in a whimper.
Later they went into his room and Goi went into the bathroom. When he came back, they both lay on the bed and talked about many topics; she held his hand and looked into his eyes. She needed him like an Arab needs a clandestine well in the desert. As they embraced, his touch was hot and passionate, unbridled by lust. Abigail removed his clothes and he helped her to remove her own as well. He laid her back on the bed. She wanted him. She had wanted him inside her for a long time. Suddenly she searched for him and caught him under the bedspread but he was weak. Goi stiffened as Abigail wrapped her long tapestry legs around him.
“Oh God, what has happened to me?” Goi shouted and fell on the other side of the bed.
“Goi, Goi, please don’t do this to me,” Abigail pleaded.
Goi couldn’t look into her eyes; he looked weak and tired like a withered plant.
“I am sorry, Abigail; I don’t know what is wrong with me,” Goi said apologetically.
“I am damned,” Abigail said and put on her clothes.
“I will make it up to you, I promise,” Goi said.
“Okay, but don’t worry about it all.” Abigail said and placed her bag on the bed.
As they got into the living room, Goi wanted to kiss her on the lips but she turned her mouth away. He held her hand and spoke to her.
“Promise me you won’t breathe a word of what happened out to anyone.”
“No I won’t Goi,” she said lightly.
Goi couldn’t see her off. This was the third time it had happened. The first time it happened was in her hostel and the second time was at Justin’s birthday party and now it happened again under his own roof. He went into his room and crashed on the bed; he hit his scrotum and cried. Goi stood up and went inside the bathroom, pouring cold water on his manhood. His body responded but it couldn’t get to his manhood. As he got out of the bathroom, the terrible experienced he had with Abigail unbalanced him. He vowed to find a solution to his problem. He knew that two wrongs can’t make a right, but now it had happened to him thrice. He wore his clothes, locked the door and went outside, taking a taxi to the Hayfield specialist hospital.
At the hospital he was taken to a Doctor Livingstone’s office in obvious distress. Goi explained his predicament and the doctor listened with rapt attention. One hour later; he was being examined at a special ward inside the hospital.
Back at Doctor Livingstone office, after his examination, the doctor picked his file on the desk and read it.
“Young man, from the result of the preliminary medical exam conducted on you, I have discovered you have no problem at all.”
“Look doctor, it can’t raise,” Goi said and touched his trouser.
“You are virile. Your problem is psychological.”
“What should I do, doctor?”
“I will recommend one of our psychological experts for you; he will work with you and recommend some drugs too.”
“Thank you very much doctor,” Goi said with a distant look in his eyes.
“Take this. These are your prescriptions.” Doctor Livingstone said and gave him a pack.
“I am so grateful doctor.”
Later in the night Goi couldn’t sleep. He thought of Moi, knowing he was the captive the prisoner of her love. When he slept he dreamt of the day that they had taken the oath, but in the dream they had another oath. This time it was a long oath that bound the two of them forever.
X X X X
Yol woke up suddenly and he ran outside. He saw thousands of birds flying across the moon. He became afraid and his heart palpitated, for he knew something terrible was coming. He couldn’t sleep. He stood in front of the tent all day long, sweating as he removed the silver bangle on his left wrist and prayed to it. It had been a long time since such a feeling happened to him. It had happened last during the civil war and now it was coming back again, a feeling of death, disaster and pogrom. He wanted to wake his wife and tell her about the evil that knocked at the door but he changed his mind because he knew that Nyot would never believe him.
At Kosa, the second refugee camp, Moi dabbled her face with a white powder. The powder was given to her by one of the soldiers. A week ago the refugees in the camp celebrated their sixth year of staying there. Moi remained inside her tent. Most of the big and beautiful girls had gone, following the United Nations soldiers back to their country.
Moi was almost at the point of death when she met Richard, a United Nations soldier from Ethiopia. When she had waited for Goi for five years and didn’t see him, she fell for Richard. It was one woman who introduced Richard to her inside the camp; the woman had seen her condition and came to her rescue. It was Kolo that told her that Goi was dead. She concocted a lot of lies to change her mind. In one instance she told her she knew Goi very well. She used what Moi told her to work against her. After she worked on Moi psychologically, Moi came to believe her. One day she opened her palm and saw the mark of incision there. Later in the night, she brought out a razor blade, opened her palm and cut it with the razor blade. She licked the blood that oozed out from her palm, cried and fell on the small bed inside the tent.
Kolo was happy when Richard gave her a packet of cigarette; she smoked as they stood outside the camp.
“How does it go, Kolo?” Richard asked.
“I have won her heart; I told her the boy is dead.”
“Did she believe you?”
“She swallowed it, hook, line and sinker,” Kolo shouted and laughed.
“Here is five grand for your help, Kolo.”
“Thank you Richard.”
Richard smiled and looked toward the sky. Two weeks later Moi made up her mind. She forgot everything about Goi; he didn’t exist in her life again. She powdered her face inside the tent. Richard didn’t wear an army uniform when he came into the tent; Moi was too delighted to see him. They kissed and Richard fell on the bed and embraced her. Moi looked like a lion hungry for a prey when he touched her. She held on to him as he rode her, her piercing moans disappearing with the evening wind.
Two weeks later, after he was relieved of his duty, Richard and Moi flew to Ethiopia.
X X X X
Yol couldn’t sleep. He was tortured by nightmares. He had been having the strange dreams for more than five days. Then, when he woke up, his face suddenly turned pale. He touched his wife and left the bed. He went outside. When he looked at the sky, he saw neither the moon nor the bird and it was a pitch black moonless night. He was so afraid that he walked about the still camp. He saw some of the refugees that slept outside their tents; they were so tired that many of them were snoring on the mats outside their tents.
Few of the peace keepers prowled around. He saw some soldiers smoking weeds very close to the doctor’s quarter inside the camp. Yol went back to his tent; he fell down and cried. Amun woke up suddenly, he couldn’t sleep again, and he stood up and walked toward a tree very close to where the soldiers were standing.
Unknown to the United Nations soldiers, militiamen had surrounded the whole camp in the thousands. They didn’t make any noise. They walked toward the camp like great lions that crouched in the cover of darkness. Yol could see them in the dim light. When he saw the men, he raised an alarm.
“The Janjaweed, the Janjaweed are here!” Yol shouted and went into the tent to wake his wife.
The militiamen fired. Refugees all ran out of their tents when they heard his voice, running helter-skelter, but the militiamen had prepared for them. They unlocked their automatic weapons and came out of hiding and shot at the people as they came toward them in the darkness. They knew their onions and peeled them with skill and dexterity, knowing the camp would be in disarray. They smote the people in the thousands. Hot lead tore into naked flesh and the sword by their side fell on men, children, old men and women. The Janjaweed burnt the tents inside the camp. The United Nations peace keepers fought with them till the break of dawn. More reinforcements were called and many of the Janjaweed militiamen were killed and others captured.
The next morning thousands of dead refugees were piled up in the middle of the camp. There was wailing, tears and sorrow as people wailed. Many of the peace keepers were also killed by the militiamen. Amun escaped but Yol and his wife were not lucky. They were mauled down as they ran toward the tree in the distance. Amun saw their corpses among the dead. Later he went to the camp commander and begged him to allow him to bury his father and mother.
The camp commander smiled sheepishly and granted his request. Amun wept uncontrollably when he buried Grandpa Yol and his wife Nyot under the Jacaranda tree inside the camp, He put two stones on their graves. Later the camp was stripped of the human colony. All the inhabitants of the camp were transferred to Kosa and the camp was closed down.
X X X X
Goi was buoyed by Doctor Livingstone pronouncement, His heart was a cauldron of powerful feeling when he used the prescription that the doctor gave him. He was overjoyed when his manhood became turgid one day when he took his bath. When he came out of the bathroom, he took his phone and called Abigail.
“Abigail I really want to see you.” Goi said.
“I am pretty busy.”
“Please dear, I really want to see you.”
“Okay, I will come to your place immediately.”
Thirty minutes later Abigail knocked on his door. His heart gave a sudden leap of surprise when he saw her. Goi didn’t give her any chance; he swept her off her feet and took her to the room.
“I need you, Abigail.”
“I need you too,” Abigail said and they kissed.
Goi took her to the bed and they kissed for a long time, having missed each other so much.
“I have missed you so much,” Abigail said.
“Words can’t express my desire to get to you everyday.”
“I wanted to walk away,” Abigail said and they kissed.
“I thought as much.”
“But I can’t walk away from you; I want to love you again,” Abigail said.
When they embraced together, she painted fantasy in her heart. Later, when she felt him, he was hard. Her body sunk and she held to him. He felt incredible and he explored her body. As they moaned together on the bed, she was so happy. It was so beautiful, natural and fantastic, and she had wanted it for so long. Abigail stayed with Goi for a week before she left for her own home.
Doctor George married his heartthrob Janet and nine months later they had a son, Henry.
Goi was very sad inside the taxi when he heard about the Janjaweed attack. He had a jaundiced view of life when he heard the news .He looked at the bangle in his wrist and he cried. He wept for his Granny and Grandpa when he heard the news that they were killed in the camp. When he got home, he took the pictures of his two grannies and put them on top of the television set.
When Doctor George heard the news, he visited him in the house. Seeing him, Goi stared at the doctor with a blank expression and then he cried. Doctor George went to him and consoled him and they embraced. His wife Janet also sympathized with him. Doctor George squeezed his hand in sympathy; they stayed with him inside the bungalow throughout the day.
As the days and weeks went by, Goi couldn’t think straight. His mind was in complete turmoil. Abigail came to stay with him. Still it pained him that he had lost his grannies. The pain penetrated deeply into the fabric of his heart like a train that had crashed into an empty Chinese vase. He had thought of bringing them to Hull, for they were the people that mattered to him most in the world, but now he had lost them to the pang of war.
On his graduation day, Goi was a happy man. Flanked by his fiancée Abigail, Doctor George and his wife Janet and their little son Henry, Goi was the happiest man in the world. Later, as they left the party and Doctor George went home, Abigail gave him a rose.
“I love you Goi; congratulations my dear.”
“Thank you Abigail,” he said and looked into her eyes.
“There is something I want to tell you,” Abigail said as they walked toward the parking lots of the University.
“Let’s go to my house, love.”
“No, I won’t follow you home,” Abigail said and Goi stiffened with surprise.
“What is really happening, Abigail?” Goi asked.
“I don’t deserve you Goi. I am deeply sorry for what I have done to you,” Abigail said apologetically.
“Look Abigail, please forget about what happened between us. Look….”
“Goi, I have to go,” Abigail said and cut him short. Goi wanted to hold her hand but she broke free and walked very fast to a car in the distance.
Goi walked behind her, stopping suddenly when he saw her in the distance. Opening the door of a car was his friend Justin. Unknown to Goi, during the time that he was having problems with his health, Abigail had gone to meet Justin.
Quailed by his future, he walked in shambles and threw the rose in his hand away. Abigail had struck his heart with a knife. Within the taxi, as he went home, and back at home, Goi had a jaundiced view of life. He could no longer sleep on the bed. He cried and called Abigail but she had switched off her phone.
X X X X
Mr. Fisher was a renowned archaeologist. A report by the Associated Press (A.P) listed some his discoveries to include the palace of Egypt’s 4th dynasty ruler (2,575 B.C. to 2,467 B.C.) Mr. Fisher worked all over Africa and discovered great archeological sites; his new site was in Ethiopia, in East Africa. Goi was too excited when the dispatch rider gave him a letter from Mr. Fisher.
Doctor George had gotten a job for him in a small library in London but George had rejected the job and opted to work with Mr. Fisher as one of his assistants .The following week, after he signed all documents in Mr. Fisher’s office in London, Goi traveled to Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia, Mr. Fisher and Goi wandered around all the villages and looked for ancient sites. They drove and walked dusty villages and looked for imaginary sites where Cush was buried; someone had told Mr. Fisher that Cush had his place of birth between Ethiopia and Sudan. Mr. Fisher wanted to be the first archaeologist to discover the place.
When they got to a village in northern Ethiopia, they settled there and began to work. Goi monitored the workers on the site under the hot African sun, Goi made sure he gave directions to the workers that dug the site; he made sure that they didn’t destroy or steal any artefacts that they discovered on sites.
As they worked in the sun in Kasara village, Northern Ethiopia, a car drove toward them and stopped in front of Mr. Fisher. An English man came out of the car and a local guy followed behind him. The English man greeted Mr. Fisher and introduced his companion.
“Good morning, Mr. Fisher sir.”
“Elthon, I am glad to see you.” Mr. Fisher said and they shook hands. Mr. Elthon introduced his companion.
“This is Gabriel, Mr. Fisher.” Elthon said.
“Hello Gabriel, how did you do?” Mr. Fisher said and shook Gabriel’s; he brought out his cigarette case, took one cigarette and lit it.
“Sir, this man came from Darfur, and he has a lot of information for you.” Elthon said and Mr. Fisher made a gestured and they all walked toward a makeshift pavilion in the distance.
Mr. Fisher sat down and faced Gabriel; he looked with misgivings at the strange man.
“Where the hell did you say the man came from, Elthon?” Mr. Fisher said and poured wine into a glass cup.
“The man comes from Darfur sir,” Elthon said and Gabriel nodded his head.
“There is war in Darfur,” Mr. Fisher said and pushed the wine to Elthon.
“Yes there is war but it won’t affect you. Get what you want and leave the place.” Elthon said and gulped the wine down his dry lean throat.
“Okay, what does he have for us?” Mr. Fisher said and Elthon nodded to Gabriel to speak.
Gabriel gulped down the drink and made an attempt to pour another into the glass cup but Elthon held his hand and told him to talk with Mr. Fisher. When Gabriel spoke, he mixed broken English with his dialect, Mr. Fisher didn’t understand a word of what he said, so Elthon told Gabriel to shut his mouth and he took it from him.
“Well, he said his father had a large site in Darfur and he saw an old broken pot on the land when he was working there two years ago,” Elthon said with a sycophantic smile.
“What are you trying to prove?” Mr. Fisher said and looked at Gabriel’s face. Elthon urged Gabriel to bring out the small broken pot from his pocket.
When Mr. Fisher saw the small pot, he flinched on his chair and sat down to examine it. He could feel the heat of the sun on his back as he continued to stare at the small pot which had golden patterns all over its body. The small pot was so beautiful that Mr. Fisher called on Goi to examine the pot.
“Goi, get your butt over here.” Mr. Fisher shouted.
Goi left the workers in the sun. When he got inside the pavilion, Mr. Fisher gave him the small pot. Goi brought out his equipment and examined it, and after he examined the small pot for more than an hour; he discovered that the pot dated back to 2000 B.C. Later he raised his head and closed his equipment; Mr. Fisher looked at him in the eye.
“I think the pot is original, Mr. Fisher sir,” Goi said and Mr. Fisher nodded his head.
Elthon and Gabriel smiled because their plan was working.
“Goi, dear, you can go back to your work,” Mr. Fisher said and Goi went back to supervise the workers on the site. As he walked toward the place, he glanced back and saw the two men being happy to talk with Mr. Fisher. He knew it would be sheer madness if Mr. Fisher trusted the men, for they looked sinister and his heart didn’t go with them.
Mr. Fisher laid the small pot on the table and touched the pattern that was designed on it. When looked at Elthon he knew there was something sinister and he was afraid to trust him, but then he couldn’t afford to lose access to the site in Darfur. Many thoughts jostled for space in his heart. Finally he concluded that the men may be telling the truth after all. He looked at the two men and spoke.
“When will Gabriel be ready to take us to Darfur?” Mr. Fisher said. Elthon looked at Gabriel; they talked for a moment and then looked back at Mr. Fisher.
“He said, when you are ready,” Elthon said.
“Tell him I will be ready in two weeks; I need to work on my traveling document and other logistics,” Mr. Fisher said.
“Like they say, he who pays the piper dictates the tune. We shall be ready any time you are ready, Mr. Fisher sir,” Elthon said and looked at Gabriel who smiled at him.
The two men agreed and told him that they would be ready any time he called the shot; Mr. Fisher counted a wad of notes and gave it to Elthon.
“Thank you, Mr. Fisher. I am most grateful.”
“Look, if I discover many artefacts on the site, I will surprise you,” Mr. Fisher boasted and the two men stood up.
Elthon smiled. He shook Mr. Fisher’s hand and the two men walked to their car. They drove off in a great deal of speed. Mr. Fisher looked at the tail end of the car as it sent dust to the sky. Later he went to join Goi on the site.
In the night Mr. Fisher couldn’t sleep. He was thinking about the new site in Darfur. He stood up and walked to his desk and began to calculate the cost of logistics and everything he would need in the place. He knew Darfur was volatile with different armed groups, so he needed to have as many private guards as possible. Later, after he had worked late into the night, he thought about Elthon. He had met the Briton in a restaurant in Addis Ababa, where he worked with a big hotel in the country’s capital city. He was very jovial and friendly over beer as he told him about his new site in northern Ethiopia. Apart from the fact that he knew him as a worker in the hotel, Mr. Fisher knew nothing about him. As he thought about him, he didn’t know the time that he slept. He was fast asleep on the bed and he snored like a heavy pig, his tall gangling frame covering the bed.
A week later, like genies, Elthon and Gabriel came back and demanded that Mr. Fisher sign an agreement with them. After a lot of discussion, they both agreed on twenty thousand dollars and there was a clause in the agreement that said that if an artifact was discovered on the site, Mr. Fisher would pay them the sum of one hundred thousand dollars each for their efforts.
“I will pay you ten thousand dollars now. When we get to Darfur I will pay you the balance after we discover an item on the site.”
“Okay, we have a deal, Mr. Fisher.”
“So when we shall we leave?” Mr. Fisher asked.
“Next week Tuesday.”
“Okay, I shall be ready for you,” Mr. Fisher said.
When the men left the pavilion, Goi left the workers and went to meet Mr. Fisher. He told him he knew about the place like the back of his hand because he grew up there. He tried to plant a seed of doubt in Mr. Fisher’s mind but, unknown to him, Mr. Fisher had already made up his mind to go to the place. Goi knew that Mr. Fisher was a difficult man to convince and he sat with him and began to tell him the history of his life. Mr. Fisher was unyielding and told Goi to go back to the site. Two weeks later, after some delay due to visa problems, Mr. Fisher and his crew eventually traveled to the Sudanese capital with Elthon and Gabriel to unravel the mystery under the Darfurian soil. When he slept, Mr. Fisher dreamt that he discovered the palace of Cush and the image of his ten princesses.
When they got to the Sudanese capital, they booked in a hotel and used two weeks to make preparations. Mr. Fisher studied the map of the area under the morning sunlight. Later Goi came to meet him and they went out of the room.
“Look, Mr. Fisher, I know this place like the back of my hand,” Goi said. He had tried to discourage Mr. Fisher from embarking on the journey but all his convictions were met by a brick wall. He knew that Mr. Fisher would always doubt the correctness of his decision.
“Calm down your nerve Goi. You don’t know the place more than Gabriel. Remember, Gabriel also grows up in the place and he is older than you, right?” Mr. Fisher said and took a cigarette case from the table; he took one from inside the case and lit it.
Goi was unhappy. He left the three men in the hotel bar and went to his room, falling on the bed and thinking about his life. He thought about Abigail and how she almost ruined his life. He was afraid of coming down to Sudan, for he knew that many things awaited him as he returned home. The ghost of his granny and grandpa would haunt him as he returned to the place of his birth. He stood up from the bed and went to the window and looked at the clear blue sky. When he looked at the sky, the thought of Moi came back to his mind and he smiled and went back to sit on the bed. He prayed they might meet by chance.
The next day, three jeeps and a big lorry with armed escort left the hotel and moved from Khartoum to Darfur. Mr. Fisher, Goi, Elthon and Gabriel sat in one of the jeeps. Elthon understood Gabriel’s language. Gabriel was from the Murle ethnic group, so Goi couldn’t understand the language, but he could pick a little from it and he knew there was something sinister about the two men. He had already suspected them; he knew he needed to watch his back every minute when they arrived on site.
X X X X
Moi was swooned when Richard introduced her to his family members. He was so fond of her that it took a little time for his mother to accept her into the family. Still, Moi managed to live with Richard’s mother. When a new military barracks was constructed in Addis Ababa, Moi and her husband went to live there together. Richard loved Moi so much that he doted on her.
Moi got admission into a nursing school; Richard provided everything that she needed in school. One day when Richard came back from work, he found her behind the house; she sat down on a long bench and ate an apple. When he got to her side they embraced and he gave her a box. When they got into the living room she opened the box and was so surprised when she found a golden wristwatch inside. She was so happy that she kissed and embraced Richard. Richard carried her in his strong hands and took her to the bed inside the room and then he switched off the light.
The next day, after Richard left for work, Moi took a taxi and went to her friend Pagan’s working place. Pagan worked in a big restaurant in Addis Ababa. Moi didn’t believe they could ever meet in life again, but their paths had crossed again during the celebration of the Armed Forces Remembrance day. Moi saw her as she sat calmly among the wives of the soldiers who came to grace the occasion, so she was shocked when their eyes both met. Then they had embraced for so long when they met each other and since that time they had become great friends. Pagan was doing fine and her husband was good to her.
Pagan was too happy when she saw Moi; she left what she was doing and went to entertain her friend.
“Moi, I am happy to see you,” Pagan said and embraced her friend.
“How are you Pagan?” Moi said when they disengaged.
“I am fine.”
“Come along please,” Pagan said and invited her to the visitors lodge.
When they got there, they talked till late in the night. Later Pagan promised to visit her the following week.
X X X X
Goi had a look of boredom and sadness on his face as the jeep drove very fast and sent dust to the sky on its way to the village. They whizzed past many villages like arrows from the Tartar’s bow. They soon got to Kiba village; the village was deserted with patched muddy huts, dried and bitten by the harsh weather. Goi told the driver to stop and when the jeep stopped, he stood at the distance and looked at the ruin that remained of his village.
He walked to the gate of the village and fell on his knees. He kissed the bangles on his wrist, though he no longer believed in them and their power, but he kissed it as a respect for his grandparents. As he knelt down and prayed, a big dark bird came and flew over the ruins of the village. Mr. Fisher came to his side and touched him on the shoulder.
“Look Goi, life goes on,” Mr. Fisher said. He brought out his small camera and videoed the ruin of the village. Later Goi stood up and, with Mr. Fisher by his side, walked back to the jeep in the distance.
As the jeep drove very fast in the dusty arid road, the two men behind the jeep, Elthon and Gabriel, were uncomfortable. Goi knew they were up to some sinister moves and he didn’t trust the two men. He looked behind him and spoke.
“What happen to you, Mr. Elthon, sir?” Goi asked.
“Nothing, Mr. Goi. We are having a little discussion,” Elthon said and the two men kept silent.
They drove around western Darfur for two days and every day they encountered militiamen in dark clothes and with heavy guns. Sometimes they stopped for the ragtag soldiers and at other times they forced their way. All the men in the entourage of Mr. Fisher would have died if they had encountered an ambushed as they left Kiba village, but some men in veils came from nowhere and attacked the convoys. Yet the guards came down from the jeep and fought back. There was cacophony of gunfire in the dark night. At the end of the melee twenty of the attackers lay dead on the white sandy soil.
When the attackers left, Mr. Fisher, his tongue in his mouth, came down from within the jeep. He was badly scared and he prayed to God. Goi was so afraid that he prayed to the bangles in his hand. Further, all the workers inside the big lorry were afraid. After the attack, they drove for some minutes and set up their camp very close to an abandoned well. Mr. Fisher and Goi couldn’t sleep, so they talked together till the break of dawn.
The wind blew in the morning and sent dust particles to the sky. Later, after some time, the weather became bright and everyone went back to the vehicle. As they were about to get inside the car, Mr. Fisher stopped Elthon and Gabriel and questioned them in front of the jeep.
“Look guys, when are going to get to this place?” Mr. Fisher asked. He got impatient with the trip that had already taken many days.
“We are almost there, Mr. Fisher. You really have to exercise patience,” Elthon said and brought out the map .He showed Mr. Fisher the map of the place.
“Well, I have seen the map, but I am getting frustrated,” Mr. Fisher said Goi stood by his side and shared portions of the pain.
“Don’t be frustrated. We will get there in two hours’/ time,” Elthon said and Mr. Fisher looked at Gabriel in the eyes and spoke.
“Where are we, Gabriel?” Mr. Fisher demanded.
“We are still on the border of Kiba,” Gabriel said in broken English.
“So where is the place exactly?”
“I told you - it is between Kiba and Kosa village. We will get there in less than two hours sir,” Elthon said and they went back into the car.
As they left Kiba and drove for forty five minutes, Gabriel suddenly saw the Jacaranda tree in the distance and an old dirty sign he kept in front of the land; he exchanged glances with Elthon and Elthon shouted to the driver.
“Halt, please stop the car,” Elthon shouted.
“What happened to you Mr. Elthon sir?”
“Gabriel has found the place at last.”
The driver stopped the car and Gabriel and Elthon were the first to get down. They stood on the road and pointed to the Jacaranda tree in the distance. Later Mr. Fisher and Goi came down from within the car and walked to them. They stood behind the men as Gabriel continued to explain to them about the site.
“Look Mr. Fisher sir, we have got to the place,” Elthon said and pointed to the Jacaranda tree in the distance.
“Are you sure about this?”
“I am one hundred percent sure, sir,” Elthon said.
Mr. Fisher told Goi to call out to the workers as he surveyed the whole place. Later the workers and the ten guards came down from the jeeps and the lorry and they began to clear the place. There were weeds on the site. They constructed three makeshift houses with planks, one for Mr. Fisher and Goi, one for Elthon and Gabriel, and a large one for the workers, Mr. Fisher had brought twenty workers from the Sudanese capital. They were cheap and easy to work with. In the evening Mr. Fisher and Goi walked all over the land and tried to figure out how they would start the work. Inside their room, Elthon and Gabriel drank wine and sang old familiar tunes.
When Mr. Fisher and Goi came back after they had inspected the site, Goi held his head. A mysterious headache racked up his head so much that Mr. Fisher noticed his uneasiness.
“What happen to you, Goi?” Mr. Fisher said as he fell on the bed.
“I have a terrible headache,” Goi said he felt cold and terrible on the bed.
“When did it start?” Mr. Fisher said because Goi was hale and healthy until they came into the room.
“The moment we got to the Jacaranda tree.”
“It is malarial fever,” Mr. Fisher said.
“I don’t think so, Mr. Fisher. I have been using my medicine. It’s just a strange feeling. I couldn’t understand it sir.”
“Okay, just lie down there. I will make tea for you, right?”
The following day the men worked. They dug the ground and worked all day and night, but they discovered nothing except old and dirty bathroom slippers and shoes. They also discovered old clothes and pieces of broken aluminum pots. Later, in the evening, Gabriel and Elthon came to meet Mr. Fisher and demanded their balance.
“Men, you really have to exercise patience. We have been working all morning and we are yet to discover an item, but I know we shall get there but you really have to calm down. I will pay your money when we find an item.”
“Okay, we are going to wait a little bit more - no problem,” Elthon said and smiled and Gabriel smiled back at him.
Immediately after the men left the room, Goi came to meet Mr. Fisher and told him that the two men were not honest. He told him there was something fishy about the two men.
“I told you sir; I don’t seem to trust these men.”
“Calm down your nerve, Goi. There is still hope that we may find something on the site,” Mr. Fisher said and lit his cigarette.
“Why do you say that sir?” Goi said and poured wine into the glass cup.
“One of the men discovered a silver chain in the morning,” Mr. Fisher said, his eyes sparkling with excitement.
“I saw it but there was nothing special about it.”
“There is something special about it because this is the palace of Cush.”
“The palace of Cush. How sure are you?”
“Yes Goi, for so long I have been trying to discover the palace of Cush before other archaeologists discover the place,” Mr. Fisher said and told Goi to give him a glass of wine.
As he poured the wine Goi looked at Mr. Fisher’s face and shook his head.
“Sir, are you sure this is the Cush palace?”
“I am very sure.”
“Okay, if you are sure sir I will concur,” Goi said and left the room.
Goi stood outside. Later he looked at the Jacaranda tree in the distance. There was something strange about the tree because anytime he got there, he felt a terrible headache that racked through his brain and system. He knew there was something strange about the big tree, something he couldn’t unravel. As he slept on the bed, he thought about what Mr. Fisher had said about Cush palace. Maybe it was the truth after all. His headache may be a result of disturbing the solitude of the dead. As he thought about the mystery under the Jacaranda tree, a heavy sleep took him away. He dreamed of Moi beckoning him to him to come into her open arms.